Reading for Stress Relief: Here Are Over 70 Books to Help You Escape the Real World for a While by Elisa Schmitz
It's a normal part of life to feel stress from time to time. But when stress overloads the system, it can create debilitating physical health conditions. When that happens, you need to take action to combat and reduce stress, stat.
Like so many others, my life has been filled with ups and downs, and plenty of challenges along the way. Some days it seems like just as you get one shoe under control, the other shoe drops. We become masters at the art and science of crisis management, putting out one fire after another. Like boats, we need to learn to ride the waves rather than fight them, in order to keep ourselves afloat.
About a year ago, my doctor recommended that I add reading fiction as a tool to keep stress in check. While I nearly laughed at the suggestion (who has time to read a book, for goodness sake?!), I finally decided to give it a try. I remembered that as a child, escaping to my room to read used to be my favorite pastime, so maybe I could try to fit it into my life at least occasionally.
I went to a local bookstore and quickly became overwhelmed by all the choices. In a world of great books, what to pick? So I turned to my friends and Facebook community for their suggestions. Here's what I posted:
"I’m at the bookstore, buying my first fiction book in years. Doctor’s orders, for stress relief. But I’m overwhelmed with all the choices and don’t know what to pick. I need your escapist book recos, stat! If you had to suggest one book to escape the real world for a few hours, what would it be? Help a sister out?! Thanks!"
Boy, did my tribe deliver. Below are their recommendations, and my feedback if I have read the book. I hope you will pick up a few of these titles and enjoy the escape that reading provides. Reading is a form of mindfulness, and it has helped me a lot to lose myself in a good story. We all need to do that more often. Make time for it, for your health's sake!
Update on May 15, 2020: The added stress and quarantine caused by the coronavirus pandemic is making this all the more important. I've added a few more books to the list that I've been reading during these uncertain times!
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